How I already gained 11 friends in Jakarta before I even got there

So there is this thing called couchsurfing

For those of you who don’t know it: where have you been? Surely it wasn’t planet earth.

I posted a message there with my plans for the next five months and it was nice to see all kinds of people sending me messages in response. Some were expats wanting to make friends, others were locals wanting to show me the city and I even have some offers to travel together already.

The hospitality is overwhelming. It’s good to know I won’t have to be lonely while I’m in Jakarta.

On the other hand, how am I gonna make time to meet everyone?

I really like that there is this kind of medium where you can just post a random message and people respond and want to meet up. It makes traveling to a completely new city much easier, just knowing that there are likeminded people out there (and that there is apparantly internet in Indonesia – just kidding ;) )

I’m curious about the culture and I read everywhere that people in Indonesia are also very curious about Westeners. I read on someones blog that he felt like a total celebrity because everyone was staring at him on the streets. I guess this will make it easier to connect to locals and get to know them.

I hope I will learn some Bahasa Indonesia soon, and I am working on it. I actually found this site, where you can sign up and get more than a hundred actual digital lessons for free! I have finished lesson 1, so now I know: Selamat pagi! Apa kabar? Baik-baik saja. Apa nama anda? Saya Sanne. Terima kasih. And… Some other things I have already forgotten. But I will learn and eventually I’ll remember. And if there is one thing my travel experienced have taught me, it is that hand gestures go a long way.

Rice, vegetables, fruit and walking

These four words pretty much sum up all of my great intentions for the time in Indonesia. During one of her pep talks, these four keywords were mentioned by my friend Jeanine (thank you for unknowingly giving me a title for a blog. I really enjoyed our day <3) and she is so right. If this was all that was waiting for me in Jakarta, I would still be pretty happy (but it is not, which makes me even happier).

Because I don’t eat meat or fish, a lot of people warn me about the hard time I will have finding something to eat in Indonesia. But for me, it’s very simple. I have set my mind to a plate of rice and vegetables every night for six months, and nothing could make me happier (except for the fact that I am having the adventure of a lifetime). I seriously think I will not get sick of eating the same thing every day! I am actually looking forward to the simplicity.

Here in The Netherlands, I eat a lot of fruit, but it is so expensive (doubting my fruit addiction? Check my fruity Instagram: @traveling_sunny. #healthylifestyle ;)). Even though I decided quite some time ago not to save money on healthy food, it always costs me an arm and a leg. In Indonesia, fruit is so cheap! I cannot wait to try all the exotic fruits and save money on the regular fruits that I have grown to love.

I’m also used to get my exercise by jogging or cycling, but in Jakarta, I will not venture out into the traffic on a bicycle (because I don’t have a death wish) and jogging while inhaling all of the smog and avoiding cars and scooters doesn’t seem like the best idea (not to mention I won’t have my running gear there). So I have found other ways to stay/get in shape.
First, ever since I knew I was going to Jakarta (which is a long time, I’m kind of a planner) I decided Indonesia was a great place for me to learn yoga. So I will take a yoga class and practice yoga every morning. Also, because I am slightly afraid of the traffic, I will walk a lot! I’ll walk twenty minutes to and from the hotel where I will do my internship, and I will walk everywhere else (within reason). It will prepare me for all of the long days of traveling later on! Also, I think I will do quite some swimming. You know why. No? Because it is hot in Indonesia, that’s why.

As you can read, I am not only looking forward to the standard experiences of moving abroad for a serious amount of time. I am also very excited about the little things, the daily routines and the new life this place will be able to give me.

I’m just pretty excited in general.

Fears and excitement

I find it rather weird that all I feel when approaching the date on which I will fly more than 11.000 kilometers to another part of the world is excitement. Shouldn’t I be the slightest bit nervous?

The truth is that I am ready to leave Groningen behind and start over somewhere else. I have lived here for a long time and I have really enjoyed my student years, but I can’t wait to discover new parts of the world.

In these days of preparation I spend a lot of time Googling. I try to figure out all the sights to see in Jakarta, I want to know what to wear, what to bring, what to leave behind. I have looked up cinemas in Jakarta (just because I can), I have researched phone plans (even though I will just pick something in a store there) and I have even looked up the Asian toilet system (I found this link extremely useful and will think of this as the biggest trial of all. Barney said it best: Challenge accepted).

This pre-fun is great. I have found all kinds of awesome places to visit and knowing I will be able to do most of it, increases the fun exponentially.

But Google also brings up some horror stories about traveling abroad, especially alone and especially as a woman alone. Of course, some of these results are caused by the search terms I enter into the machine that knows all.

You hear a lot about people being scammed, robbed, harassed and I even read the most horrible story about someone being poisoned, only so they could bring them to a “doctor” around the corner with the miraculeus cure, which led to ginormous bills afterwards. All of this information has led me to fear two things.

  1. Having something stolen.
  2. The traffic.

Because I will be abroad for more than six months at a time, I will bring my laptop. I will also bring my fancy camera, to provide you (and future me) with idyllic pictures of landscapes (and selfies). I will bring my iPhone so I can Google map stuff, and yes, I do realize I sound like a complete Westerner (sue me). But with bringing my most prized possessions comes the risk of them being stolen.

I have taken some precautions. I will keep them out of sight most of the time, I will upload all of my photos regularly (because the pictures will be more valuable to me than the camera probably. However, this won’t stop me from crying if something were to happen to it). And I will keep my laptop at home or at hostels in safety lockers whenever possible.

The second point is something I am not looking forward to yet. Luckily, the place where I will do my internship is at walking distance of my house, but for other locations I will probably not be able to do it all with the walking bus. So I will have to take an actual bus, or a train, or a taxi. And I am slightly dreading this. But hey, it’s all part of the great experience, right? So I will suck it up and do it. After all, cycling through the Folkingestraat in Groningen has already thought me a great deal in that department.

So there it is, my two biggest fears, written and thereby virtually eternalized. But I do have to say, other than these two points…


The backpack of life

In a lifetime, one can collect a lot of stuff. Some useful, like kitchen supplies, clothes, traveling gear (very useful), diaries that have been written in from cover to cover, pens… (?) But other things, not so useful. When was the last time you used your “retro” walkman? Right. I rest my case.

I have recently discovered that I can now get rid of all of my books, dvds and cds, because nowadays, everything is online (call me slow, I don’t care). I got an ereader, I watch my favorite tv-shows and movies online and I download music. So that’s less stuff to move to my moms house next week.

Seeing as how I plan on living out of a backpack for most of next year (and a part of the year after that, too), what I am hoping for is that when I open up all of the boxes that I am currently packing, I will see all sorts of items that I have not missed one bit in the year we spent apart. The result is that I will be able to throw it out without a second glance (which will bring my mom to tears. Sorry mom).

I feel my best when I am in a room that is neat and minimalistic. Not too much stuff, but just enough to make it feel homey. In the past years I have been living in single student rooms, where there was just enough room to fit all of my stuff, but my room was full – cluttered. And even though I expect to be living a bit bigger when I return home after all of my travels, I still want less things cluttering up the space I have. I want room to move around, dance, do push ups (just kidding). I want room to breathe.

Given the fact that I have so many things, you can imagine the huge crisis I’m facing in these last few weeks of packing my backpack to travel across the globe to another continent for at least half a year before I get back to my mountain of choice.

What on earth do I need to bring?

Because I’m sure as hell not gonna go around dragging a backpack that is the size of my body (or even half of it). Although I will need the extra space for souvenirs, I plan on bringing only the utmost necessities and nothing more. But I catch myself constantly adding things to my packing list, and all I can do is hope – pray – that when I have neatly stacked all of these items onto my bed, I will be able to fit it all into my backpack.

I know this is a cliffhanger. Will she, won’t she? Stay tuned to find out if I manage.


Social Media Statistics

The world contains a lot of statistics. I would know, I recently passed my Statistics III course and after studying for it on four different occasions, you can trust me when I say that the world of statistics is very – very – elaborate. There is a measurement for everything.

Don’t worry, in this blog I won’t bore you with all the statistical knowledge I have gained in my years as a psychology student. But I will tell you this: nowadays, the only statistics that seem to matter to the lay people is the social media statistics. How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many likes did your post or comment receive? How many followers do you have on Twitter or Instagram? How many people do you follow?

A random picture of a normal distribution that has nothing to do with the text.

But as a new expert in the field of statistics (take this with a grain of salt, please) I have come up with some of my own social media statistics. You see, the statistic of how many likes you get on a status update is very misleading. If I would get, say, 50 likes, I would be satisfied. But if a famous person only gets 50 likes, something is wrong. For this, I have invented the “Like To Follower Ratio’. And fitting for a good statistic, it will have an abbreviation: LTFR

An example.

I have 480 friends (and in a few weeks, I will cleanse my friend list, but that is beside the point). If I post a status update and it gets 50 likes, I have an LTFR of 0,10, meaning only 10% of my friends actually like what I typed.

However, if my mother (who currently has 69 friends) would post an update and get the same amount of likes, she would have an LTFR of 0,72. Wow! What a hit. More than 70% of her friends like the status. My mom is awesome.

Of course, one should always strive for perfection = 100%. So be funny. Get those likes.

For those of you who aren’t math geniuses like myself (ahem), the calculation is:

 Number of likes
Number of friends/followers.

The same can be applied to Twitter, Instagram… Everything that contains people and likes, really.

Another quote important statistic unquote is the Follower To Followee Ratio (FTFR). On social media like Instagram and Twitter, it all starts with following other people. So in the beginning you have a very small FTFR. For instance, two people (your parents, maybe?) are following you, but you start following 100 other people. So your ratio would be 0,02. But then the people that you follow will also start following you and before you know it, you will have more followers than followees. Say, you now follow 100 people and 150 people follow you. Your ratio will be 1,5.

Needless to say, only the people with ratios above 1 are cool.

We can also create a little social media statistics inception (don’t worry, it won’t be as confusing as the movie). If you post a status update, you could also create a statistic that allows you to put into ratio the amount of people who commented on your post, versus the people who liked it. Say 50 people like your post, but only ten people comment on it. You have a Comment To Like Ratio (CTLR) (not to be confused with CTRL, the powerful button on your keyboard) of 0,20. Not bad.

I know what you are all thinking, after reading this. Besides being an amazing statistician I am also slightly psychic. You’re thinking: Thank you for this epic statistics lesson that was so relevant for my life. Well let me respond to your thoughts without you having to voice them in the comments below: You’re welcome.

Missing what you still have

It’s weird. I’m still living my old life and still seeing all of my friends. Even though that won’t stop until the end of August, I already find myself missing a lot of things immensely. When I am cycling home from work, I love the route and I already miss being able to use my bicycle to go anywhere everywhere. If I am calling a customer at work, I miss leaving the perfect voicemail for them to listen to at a later time. Despite the fact that I can WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and even call (oh my god, yes, you can still actually call people) all of my friends, I am already missing them. And on a materialistic note (I recently found out this is my greatest flaw – thanks for pointing that out Buzzfeed), I am already missing all of the money I have been saving and will spend in the time span of one year -tops.

I will miss the trips to all the great places in Europe with AEGEE, I will miss walking/jogging in the Stadpark, I will miss buying Tony Chocolonely chocolate and eating it at the AEGEE office, I will miss spontaneous or planned visits to either/or Wereldburgers, Sumo, Pigalle, or any Wok restaurant and finally I will miss going outside in my raincoat and cycling to work/the university (no I am kidding, I will not miss this. At all).

I’m not sure if it is the prospect of missing all of this that is causing me to already actually miss it, or if it is just early onset nostalgia. Whichever it is, it makes me enjoy these last few weeks even more, so I guess I should be grateful. I am imprinting memory after memory in my mind, and whereas this is the normal cycle of life, I don’t enjoy some things becoming memories, instead of realities.

And yes. I do realize I will be able to do all of these things again, or at least most of them, at some time in the future. No need to point that out, it will not make me miss any of it any less ☺

I just really like how my life is, and although some part of me does not want it to change, the other part of me has already packed her bags and is constantly running around in my mind like Bilbo Baggins. Exactly like Bilbo freaking Baggins.


Where I have been so far

Just to provide you with a little overview of what I have seen of the world so far. There is plenty more to come, I can guarantee it!

If you’d like to see the posts related to the specific locations, see the list below.

















Hi friends!

Great of you to stop by this blog. I love writing and I love travel, and decided to combine the two here. First of all, here is my global planning for the upcoming year.

September 2015: Internship – Jakarta, Indonesia

February/March 2016: Traveling through Southeast Asia

April 2016: Working on a campsite, south of France

October 2016: Studying for a final exam

End of 2016: Starting my second internship

If you’d like to know about a specific part or place I traveled to, click on travels in the menu.

I will update you with blogs, vlogs, photographs and more, so stay tuned. If you would like to be kept in the loop, scroll down below to enter your email address to stay updated. You will receive an email when there is new material posted!

Schermafbeelding 2016-01-13 om 10.53.29